The Delhi Police Crime Branch on Monday arrested five members of a gang who allegedly set several houses in south Delhi on fire after allegedly committing burglaries, police said.
The accused did this to erase any evidence of fingerprints and ward off possible trail by sniffer dogs, the police said.
With their arrests, the police claimed to have solved 14 cases of robberies at government flats in Sarojini Nagar, Kotla Mubarakpur and Hauz Khas.
Hindustan Times had first reported about the gang.
Earlier, the south Delhi police had claimed that a juvenile who recently fled from a correction home led the gang.
A team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajender Singh arrested the accused identified as Sanjay Singh (26), Vishwajeet Bishwas (22), Mahinder Singh (20), Ratan Singh (21) and the alleged receiver of stolen materials, Narender Singh (48).
“Their usual mode of entry was by cutting iron grilles of windows, preferably at the back of houses,” said Neeraj Thakur, additional commissioner of police (crime).
“They set the houses afire after committing burglary.”
The officer said the gang members believed setting fire to the burgled house would remove all evidence of their crime, including fingerprints.
“They thought that the dog squad would not be able to track them later," the officer said.
The police claimed they have recovered eight laptops, a handycam, two mobile phones, four imported watches, a CD player, a telescopic engineering instrument, gold and silver jewellery, silver utensils and $300 from them.
During interrogation, it came to light that Sanjay — who is allegedly involved in at least 13 cases — used to live in the slums of Gautam Nagar near Safdarjung Hospital.
Later, they formed a gang and started targetting locked houses.